Kentucky researcher receives prestigious Lew R. Wasserman Award

Lexington, Ky. (July 31, 2006) --

University of Kentucky ophthalmology researcher Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati has once again received a national honor for his research in the field of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Ambati was recently granted a prestigious 2006 Lew R. Wasserman Award by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), the world's leading voluntary organization supporting eye research.

The RPB Wasserman Award is given annually to scientists and physicians conducting ophthalmologic research at major medical institutions. Recipients are selected by their peers.

The award not only comes with a great amount of recognition and respect from peers, but also a $55,000 grant to UK.

"The grant money from this award will be used to hire additional staff, as well as to further my research in macular degeneration," said Ambati. "This award is very exciting personally, but it also means great things for the University of Kentucky. The money will support our mission of solving the puzzle of macular degeneration."

AMD, a progressive deterioration of the retina, is the leading cause of legal blindness in the United States. "Dr. Ambati has helped to build a first class research group in Age Related Macular Degeneration here at UK," said Dr. Andrew Pearson, Chair, UK College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. "His accomplishments have resulted not only in this prestigious award from RPB but also in substantial grant support and the publication of his findings in superb medical journals such as Nature Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It feels very rewarding to know that I am highly respected enough among my peers for them to award me this honor. Even though I am receiving the credit, I would really like to thank my group of researchers. They are an immensely talented group of people," said Ambati.

Ambati received his bachelor's from The Johns Hopkins University and completed medical school at the State University of New York. Following a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Rochester, he completed clinical and research fellowships in medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School. Ambati is a UK College of Medicine associate professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

"Dr. Ambati is focused on dissecting the underlying mechanism responsible for AMD with a goal of using this knowledge to develop treatment strategies to prevent the onset of significant visual loss," said Pearson.

"With the aging of baby boomers, AMD promises to become an even more common cause for vision loss. We can only hope that with generous support like this from RPB and the continued dedication of Dr. Ambati that we are able to find the solution soon."

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In striving to become a Top 20 public research institution, the University of Kentucky is a catalyst for a new Commonwealth – a Kentucky that is healthier, better educated, and positioned to compete in a global and changing economy. For more information about UK's efforts to become a Top 20 university, please go to http://www.uky.edu/OPBPA/Top20.html


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